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Join Randy Pobst on His 6:57 Winning Run at Pikes Peak in the Model S Plaid

After the very eventful participation last year, Randy Pobst and team Unplugged Performance return to Pikes Peak one more time, this time bringing the world's quickest production car ever, the Tesla Model S Plaid.
Tesla Model S Plaid by Unplugged Performance at the Pikes Peak exhibition class 8 photos
Unplugged Performance Tesla Model S Plaid testing up high for 2021 PPIHCUnplugged Performance Tesla Model S Plaid testing up high for 2021 PPIHCUnplugged Performance Tesla Model S Plaid testing up high for 2021 PPIHCUnplugged Performance Tesla Model S Plaid testing up high for 2021 PPIHCUnplugged Performance Tesla Model S Plaid testing up high for 2021 PPIHCUnplugged Performance Tesla Model S Plaid testing up high for 2021 PPIHCUnplugged Performance Tesla Model S Plaid testing up high for 2021 PPIHC
Launched roughly a fortnight before the start of the hill climb event, the guys at Unplugged Performance (UP) had very limited time to get the car ready for the race. However, since not much is changed in terms of the bodywork from the previous Model S, they had everything ready in advance, so they only needed a few hours for prepping once the vehicle was delivered.

Then again, it's not like they're not used to working against the clock. During the 2020 Pikes Peak edition, after Randy's unfortunate crash in the qualifiers, they managed to procure a second Tesla Model 3 to use as a parts donor and repair the original electric sedan in time for the race. It wasn't a win per se, but the simple fact they managed to race in the end must have felt pretty close.

This year, things went a lot better. To be fair, Randy probably could afford to drive a little further from the edge given just how powerful the car was, but that's not to say the experienced racing driver was out for a stroll. The UP Model S dominated the qualifiers in the exhibition class of the event, meaning it had the option of choosing its starting position.

Since this isn't a well-maintained track but an actual public road, that means it's better to let the other cars go first and sweep the asphalt, removing as much of the dirt and debris as possible. Not that it mattered to Randy, but it also allowed him to know just how hard he needed to push for the win, though we're pretty sure the only real opponent he was racing against was time.

One of the key decisions that needed to be made was picking up the right tires. With the track dry in the lower part and wet nearer the top (where it even snowed the night before), it was a difficult call to make. Luckily, one of the team's partners was Yokohama, so at least they had access to high-quality counseling as well as the actual rubber itself.

The fact the Model S Plaid won came as no surprise. EVs are notoriously apt at continuing to provide full performance at high altitudes, something internal combustion engines can't due to their reliance on oxygen to burn fuel. And since the only team able to line up a Model S Plaid at the 2021 PPIHC was Unplugged Performance, there was no real competition despite the host of heavily modified 911s and whatnot.

If there's one thing the in-cabin view of Randy's climb up the mountain shows—apart from his skill, obviously—is just how bad of an idea the yoke is when driving at the limit. And no, that kind of driving doesn't happen only when racing.



 
 
 
 
 

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